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Old 07-10-2013, 09:43 PM   #1
Administrator
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Default How to teach your horse to respond to your skeleton.

I have been thinking about this lately and working with my horses on responding to my rib cage, spine, and pelvis. I thought I would throw this out there as a point of discussion, what are some thing you focus on to get your horse to feel for your skeleton?
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #2
Jimmy
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That's very humerus. you must be ribbing, but then I'm not very hip.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:57 AM   #3
Mike Zimmerman
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The horse always feels your body, but he's got to be with you mentally enough to listen to it, they have to be willing to be guided by your signal.
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:32 PM   #4
Rex Easley
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I am finding that I need to connect my skeleton somehow to the feet, I usually need to adjust my body and then help with my hands or my feet until the horse begins to feel the movements of my body over time. Seems to work really good on horses that already have lots of forward/impulsion.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #5
Baquero
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Thought I would bump this one back up to the top for discussion. I had an experience this week where I rode my bridle horse with a different saddle. It made a world of a difference. The particular saddle I switched to was a reputable manufactured saddle that I paid quite a bit for. I will even mention that it is a saddle that was endorsed by a well known team roper a few years ago. On this day we were trailering our horses out to some country, when we arrived I unloaded the horses and went to the tack room to find that the saddles I wanted to ride were not there. I have a lot of saddles, they are often moved around, but there are only a few that I really actually ride in.

I picked the best of the ones in my tack room in the trailer and saddled my horse. The saddle "fit" my horse well, he did not sore, have unnecessary wear, or sweat marks. I have noticed this is one of the things riders today focus most on, whether or not the saddle fits there horse correctly. Although this is important it is only the beginning.

What is the first thing you use to communicate with your horse when you ride? Is it your hands, your legs, or your seat? Most of us have heard the term "constant contact" with the bit. This is something that we can control by riding on a loose rein and have soft hands. Unfortunately we can't control the fact that we do have constant contact with the horse through our seat. We spend a lot of time discussing how to develop light hands, and not enough time in my opinion thinking about developing our seat. What I learned that day was that when my saddle does not have a good seat, I am not able to have a good seat. There was a lot of unnecessary movements that I did not realize. Bouncing, and shifting weight, not being able to be centered on the balls of my feet. To put it comically, the one thing we have constant contact with our horse is usually through our rear end, which is a rubbery lump of fat. Even if that end of your body is toned, it is hard to control while riding. I liken it to sitting on a water balloon, trying to hold it steady can be difficult.

What transpired that day was my horse was unable to know what I wanted from him. His responses were muddled, and I had to use more direct cues than I should have. As a result I found that I was using more of my hands, then shifting of the weight in my seat. I had thought my horse was having an off day, and I might need to take a step back to fix some holes in his training. Instead when I returned home I saw the saddle I usually ride him in and it clicked. I saddled this horse and only walked him around my arena, he had already experienced a full days work. But the difference was for lack of a better term "night and day" The horse was able to respond to my pelvis with incredible crisp accuracy. Little shifts in my weight meant something to this horse.

Your horses know the difference between a quality saddle and one that has had corners cut. In a recent discussion with a tree maker, he explained that many of the old time saddles had bars that were 8" wide, today most manufactured saddles are made with 6" wide bars. The reason is the lumber is less expensive. Why add an extra two inches if six will do? The saddle fits correctly on the horse, but the horse doesn't respond the same to the shift in weight on the different bar widths. I do not want to suggest that this was the only difference between the two saddles that day, it is merely an observation that I have come across recently. The bars are what make contact with the horses back though.

My observation that day was that if you improve your seat you will improve the communication with your horses.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:45 PM   #6
Jan
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I don't think you need to teach a horse how to respond to your body. You need to "let" him respond. If you try to teach such things, I think you end up teaching him "cues." A horse feels your body and responds to it, in some way. Our job is to experiment and find out what movements of our body bring about the desired response, and build on that.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:26 AM   #7
Baquero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan View Post
I don't think you need to teach a horse how to respond to your body. You need to "let" him respond. If you try to teach such things, I think you end up teaching him "cues." A horse feels your body and responds to it, in some way. Our job is to experiment and find out what movements of our body bring about the desired response, and build on that.
That is an interesting way of putting it. I don't think there really is a way to teach a horse how to respond to your body without finding a way to get him to "look" for your body. Your horse needs to recognize what happens before something happens. After hours of consistent riding by me, my horse should recognize that when I want to turn to the right, I am going to turn my head to my shoulder which will change the positioning of my pelvis, put more pressure on my outside thigh, and open up my hips. This change in balance by me is a "cue" that something is coming, I am about to move the reins. Over time he should be looking for those changes in balance to respond faster and quicker. But you have to do the same thing everytime.
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Old 08-02-2013, 03:46 AM   #8
Corry
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I think both of you are right and after all mean the same thing. Prerequisite for communication between horse and rider by means of changes in the riders's body position is awareness from both sides the horse and rider.

The horse needs to learn what the rider's intention is when he moves his body. In order to learn this, the rider has to be very consistent in his moves. If the rider is inconsistent the horse will stop listening because the rider's moves make no sense to him. On the other hand, the rider needs to learn what changes of body position trigger what kind of movements of the horse. So he has to listen carefully as well.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
Jan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baquero View Post
After hours of consistent riding by me, my horse should recognize that when I want to turn to the right, I am going to turn my head to my shoulder which will change the positioning of my pelvis, put more pressure on my outside thigh, and open up my hips. This change in balance by me is a "cue" that something is coming, I am about to move the reins. Over time he should be looking for those changes in balance to respond faster and quicker. But you have to do the same thing everytime.
I have felt the horse respond to this shift on the earliest rides, even first rides. That's why I don't think you have to try to put this into the horse. I think it's intuitive to a horse's natural balance, if we don't inadvertently train it out of them. If you first do something to get his attention in the direction you want, like move your leg, he's naturally set up to respond to that weight shift that opens one door and closes another.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:38 PM   #10
Tesnusxenos
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The secret is to teach your body to respond the way it needs to move to move with the horse. Move your seat the way it needs to move to canter in the right lead and your horse canters in the right lead. Gracefully swap that swing of the hips for the left lead swing and the flying change just happens. You can post against the motion to end that jiggy trot for a longer strided working trot or extended trot. If you learn the feel of that long trot you can even ask for it sitting.
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